With their declining attendance figures under scrutiny, the Mets have offered free tickets for this weekend's series against the Yankees to a "select" number of former season-ticket holders, Mets executive vice president of baseball operations Dave Howard said.
Howard declined to elaborate on the specific number, saying it is a "limited" number for each of the three games - Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights - and that they will be for "high-priced, premium" seats that probably wouldn't sell.
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"We've allowed representatives to reach out to certain former customers, particularly long-standing ones, with this offer," Howard told Newsday in a telephone interview. "We're hoping some will come back with us."
Through 21 home dates, the Mets have hosted 669,722 fans; they have played 22 games, as they held a single-admission doubleheader against the Dodgers on April 27. That gives them a per-date average of 31,892.
Through 21 home dates last year, their inaugural season at Citi Field, the Mets drew 813,002 fans, an average of 38,714. That gives them a drop of 6,822 fans per home date, 17.6 percent.
Asked if he is concerned about a perception that the Mets are desperate in trying to unload tickets for their big series, Howard said: "I'm not concerned about people's perceptions. I'm trying to do things that are good business for the Mets.''
John Hogan, a Manhattan resident who owned Mets season tickets from 1985 through last season, said he received a call Monday from a Mets sales representative, offering him four free tickets for Friday night's series opener. He quickly lined up three friends for what will be his first trip to Citi Field this season.
"I'm not complaining," Hogan said. "I'm calling you to tell you the great thing that they did."
He also said, "I can't see ever buying season tickets again," but he added that he likely will purchase single-game tickets, "like when a buddy buys one round of drinks and you get the next."